WE ARE NOW ACCEPTING ENTRIES

The Sacramento Press Club is proud to host our 3rd Annual Journalism Awards Contest, honoring the best work centered on state politics and policy in California. We are excited to announce that the contest is officially open! The deadline to submit your entry is January 31, 2023, at 5 p.m. Finalists will be announced in mid March 2023 and winners will be announced at our third annual Journalism Awards Reception on March 29, 2023. Sign up for our email distribution list to receive updates on contest deadlines and upcoming events.

Journalists around the state are qualified to enter the contest, provided their work centers on state politics and policy. While we are a Sacramento-based club, we encourage and hope to see entries from journalists throughout the state. Acceptable entries could, for example, explore the effects of state policy on a city or region, or examine a regional issue that’s drawing attention in the Capitol. 

We will be accepting entries of work published in 2022. The entries can span journalistic mediums — text, audio, photo, video, television, and radio — except where noted otherwise. You may submit multiple times for different categories. Work completed in any language can be submitted, provided the entrant provides an English-language translation. The exception is for our Spanish-language journalism category, which will be judged by Spanish speakers.

Entries cost $20 for SPC members and $25 for nonmembers. If you enter for multiple categories, you will be charged the cost of entry per category. If the entry fee poses a financial hardship, please contact SPC about covering your entry fee at sacpressclub@gmail.com.

The awards will be judged by a panel of retired and former California journalists with experience across a variety of media. If you’re interested in judging a category of the contest, please contact us at sacpressclub@gmail.com. 

We will be accepting entries in the following categories:

This award honors the California journalist whose work has had a substantial impact on the state. The Sacramento Press Club board will accept and vote on nominations from independent news organizations or a colleague of the journalist. A nomination letter must detail, with links to published work, why the journalist should be recognized. To qualify, a journalist should have published work that reflects the best of our profession: stories that reveal egregious wrongs committed against powerless populations, that force change in public policy decisions at the state level, or that provide a powerful public service to Californians, including comprehensive coverage during emergencies. This is not a team award, nor will it be given to an institution. It is intended to recognize a singular achievement by a journalist that benefits Californians.

This category recognizes exceptional journalism that holds powerful institutions and/or people accountable for their actions and, by doing so, leads to demonstrable change that benefits Californians. The submission should include a short cover letter explaining the impact or outcome of the work. Judges will consider overall impact, depth of reporting, and the use of today’s technology to reach the audience. Entries may be in any format including text, audio or video. Entries are limited to three stories.

This award will recognize a journalist or team of journalists who displayed exceptional courage to bring necessary coverage to the public, whether by standing up to powerful people, covering events such as wildfires that are inherently dangerous, or exposing themselves to personal harm during the coverage of extremists or others who threaten with intent to injure. A nomination letter must detail, with links to published work, why the journalist(s) should be recognized. The Sacramento Press Club board will accept and vote on nominations from independent news organizations or a colleague of the journalist.

California’s 2022 midterm elections brought a long menu of journalistic challenges to political desks. Beyond statewide races in which Democrats have become reliable winners, political writers faced more than a dozen competitive House races that would determine the national storyline over the next two years, a typically complex catalog of ballot measures that drew hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign spending, and an assortment of battles for control of local government. This category recognizes non-opinion journalism focused on one or more electoral races or election topics, which breaks news and provides voters with important context related to their ballot choices. Submissions can be a single story or up to three pieces.

California’s elected officials have enormous influence over the lives of the people they represent. This category is for one specific story that either uncovers news that would not become public or explains to readers the context and import of Capitol decisions. This category recognizes journalism that takes a deeper look at the decisions made in the Capitol, the influences behind them and their effect on the broader public. Judges will be looking for exclusive reporting, a strong writing voice and how the story changed the public conversation or government decisions. A brief explanation of that impact should accompany the entry.

Decisions large and small are made each day in the California Capitol that affect the lives of the state’s 40 million citizens. This category showcases a body of work that shows consistent daily excellence in beat reporting about the Capitol and/or state government. Entries must include five examples of work that demonstrate sharp and clear writing, an important scoop, coverage of breaking Capitol news or continuing coverage of a particular topic, and an ability to explain to readers why the daily workings of the Capitol matters in their lives. Entries can cover a single topic or different issues. Political newsletters are eligible and encouraged.

This category recognizes exceptional reporting on the politics and public policy surrounding business and labor issues including remote work, the very definition of an employee, Big Tech, real estate, and labor law and enforcement. Submissions can be a single story or up to three pieces that demonstrate a command of the beat.

This category recognizes exceptional coverage of political and policy education issues, from pre-K to K12 and higher education. Submissions can be a single story or up to three pieces that demonstrate a command of the subject.

This category recognizes exceptional reporting about policy, politics and activism related to water, wildfire, energy, climate change, pollution, endangered species and other environmental topics. Submissions can be a single outstanding story or up to three pieces that demonstrate a command of the beat.

This category recognizes exceptional reporting that explains the causes and effects of the state’s housing crisis and spotlights those it has left behind. Submissions can be a single outstanding story or up to three pieces that demonstrate a command of the beat.

This category recognizes exceptional reporting on a wide range of public health issues, the government response to those issues and politics surrounding them. Submissions can be a single story or up to three pieces that demonstrate a command of the beat.

This category recognizes exceptional reporting about political and policy-driven efforts to combat social injustice and other discrimination across race, class, gender identity and more. Entries might vary from efforts by lawmakers to stop systemic discrimination and injustice to coverage of activists and community responses. Submissions can be a single story or up to three pieces that demonstrate a command of the subject.

This award is for a single story or a series of up to three stories that informed California’s Spanish-speaking community about an influential political or policy issue. The story could be text, audio, video or any combination, and would be judged on news value, depth of reporting and relevance to its audience. Entries will be judged by Spanish-speaking journalists.

The opinion section provides a public forum to hash out the most (and sometimes the least) important issues facing California. This category recognizes exceptional commentary that changed minds, held the powerful to account or perhaps simply delighted its audience. Submissions can be up to three opinion pieces in any format, including editorials, columns, cartoons and videos.

This category recognizes excellence in daily reporting on statewide California politics and policy issues for the radio format. Journalists should submit daily stories that demonstrate a commitment to beat reporting on news that emerges from the Capitol or aligns with California politics. Enter up to three radio stories or “spots,” up to two minutes in length each (including anchor intro), in addition to audio scripts.

The four-minute audio story is a staple of newscasts. This award honors excellence in audio storytelling that focuses on statewide California politics and policy issues. Journalists should enter one radio piece that demonstrates command of the format, expert news delivery and tight, compelling writing. Enter one radio story, 3-5 minutes in length (including anchor intro), in addition to audio script.

We listen to political interviews every day on podcasts, talk shows and news-radio programs. This category celebrates excellence in audio interviews that focus on California politics or policy subjects. Submit one interview, up to 30 minutes in length, including any introduction or lead-in.

California’s elected officials have enormous influence over the lives of the people they represent. This contest recognizes superb still photography that documents such influence or the impact of decisions and politics throughout the state. If a political or policy connection is not apparent, a caption should explain it. Entries may include up to three images that are not breaking news but rather pre-planned journalism that provides emotion, insight, or context.

This award honors exceptional photographic coverage of breaking news tied to state policy or politics, from anywhere in California. Acceptable entries would include coverage of events at the Capitol as well as images revealing the impact of state government decisions throughout California. If a political or policy connection is not apparent, a caption should explain it. Entries should include up to three still photographs of images made during spot coverage that had no advance planning.

California’s 2022 election asked voters to weigh in on everything from sports betting and abortion rights to Congressional races that affected the balance of power in Washington. This category recognizes exceptional visual coverage from anywhere in California of the issues at stake, involved citizenry and voters, or the candidates. If a political or policy connection is not apparent, a caption should explain it. Entries limited to three news or feature images.

This category honors excellence in television interviews that focus on California politics or policy subjects. Submit one interview in which the interviewer and interviewee are seen on camera and engaged in discussion. Entry time limit up to 30 minutes.

For excellence in reporting that either uncovers news that would not be public or explains the context and import behind government decisions. This category recognizes journalism that takes a deeper look at the decisions made in the Capitol, the influences behind them, and their effect on the public. Enter coverage of a political story or policy topic aired as a series or in-depth stand-alone story. Entries may include live and/or recorded elements. Submissions may not exceed more than 20 minutes total.

For excellence in reporting about the Capitol, state government or the broader impact of state government decisions. Entries may focus on a single subject or a range of topics, each aired as a stand-alone story. Submissions may include up to three short pieces to exceed no more than 10 minutes total.